February Update on The Station Hotel
We received a response from NetworkRail on freedom of information. They felt that it would be too expensive and time consuming to explain the interaction between themselves and South Ayrshire council from 2011-2018. However, in response to various other questions.
We asked them if they had evaluated whether their requirements for future rail services could be accommodated within the existing integrated station. They had indicated to some quarters that they might want longer trains but this doesn't seem to be the case. They indicated the ownership of the hotel as divided between themselves and Mr. Ung. NetworkRail seem to own much of the ground floor of the north wing but their was no shared responsibility for any of the roof. They didn't seem to think that they had been remiss in not providing proper access to the through platforms south which meant that people had to carry heavy suitcases on two flights of stairs to go across the bridge. They did not answer the question about why their share of the building was in poor condition according to the structural engineer's survey. Just because Mr. Ung's share was more neglected does not free them from responsibility.
They do express an interest in long term planning and trying to work with other agencies. This may be the case but would be a departure. They think that they should not spend money on the hotel and they've tried to re-coup all safety spending over the last few years from the owner. This abrogates their responsibility to the people of Ayr. If NetworkRail owned the station they would have spent many millions on it as they did in Dundee, a similar size with roughly the same number of passengers.
The Task Force has to look at the wider picture which means the government should change the way they operate and find the money, where it is in the Transport Budget from the UK Government and put it to good use to retain an important strategic and historic building.
We are going to try to use the maps and plans we have to form a 'second opinion' on the setup in the station and the requirements of the rail service. We feel the integrated station has advantages for the tourist industry.